This past weekend I read Colin Wright's free eBook on Personal Branding. While I had a general idea what personal branding was before I read the ebook, what I didn't have was a good answer to the ever important question, "Why?".
Here's what Colin says about why you need a personal brand:
Why Do You Need a Personal Brand?
There are many reasons you should want to develop a personal brand. Building a positive reputation (whatever that might mean in your field) can lead to increased word-of-mouth advertising for you and your services. When your reputation spreads and precedes you, it also makes interactions with potential clients that much easier, allowing you to spend less time convincing them to hire you, and more time negotiating the scope of services and payment (and actually working on the project).
Managing a personal brand helps you build a kind of brand equity, which will grant your name and products a certain star power. This associative celebrity can aid you in future projects you may wish to undertake, allow you to easily segue into alternate-but-related fields and will grant you expert status within your current field.
By recognizing and optimizing your personal brand, you will become part of and associated with specific ideas, movements, aesthetics, cultural attitudes and people. The more you refine your brand, the more targeted your message becomes and the more you will be doing the work you want to do, with the people you want to be working with, and at a price point that everyone can agree on.
And those are just the short-term benefits! In the long run, taking the time to filter out the rough and think through what kind of professional you want to be and how you want the rest of the world to see you can actually make you a much more skilled, fulfilled and happy person. It was Abe Lincoln who said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” Don’t be looked down on by Abe: improve yourself today.
Colin's ebook is a must-read for anyone who works as a consultant or freelancer, who does business or communicates on the web, or who just plain cares about themselves. Everyone has a personal brand. However, you need to take charge of defining that brand; you need to take charge of owning it. Your personal brand is like your health: you are the only person who can maintain it.
To begin developing my personal brand I need to figure out where my personal brand stands now. However, figuring that out on my own would be a bit difficult: I’m bound to be biased. So to help me get started I’ve created an online form with three simple questions that I will personally pass around to friends and family:
- When you hear or see the name "Raam Dev", what's the first thing that comes to mind?
- Describe something you like about Raam
- Describe something you don't like about Raam
If you have a minute to fill out the form (it’s only three questions!), I would greatly appreciate it:
Anyone who knows me can help, even if you've never met me in person! In fact, I'm very interested in the current state of my online brand, so if you only know me online I'd really be grateful for your submission.
In a few weeks, or whenever I’ve collected enough answers, I will announce the results here on my blog. This will be my current personal brand; the starting point from which I will work to consciously improve myself and my personal brand.